15 Gender Roles We Wish Didn’t Exist, According To Reddit

To put it simply, gender roles suck. There is nothing good about them. Gender roles encourage males and females to act specific ways just because of their gender – they are restricting, and are the reason for so many unfair stereotypes about both guys and girls.

Gender roles are the reason that stupid, lame joke exists about how women exist just to make men sandwiches (seriously? Why is this still a joke?). Gender roles explain why so many men feel like they can’t express emotion, something us girls frequently get frustrated about. In a perfect world, there would be zero gender roles. We would all be able to do whatever we want, without worrying about getting made fun of. Unfortunately, that world doesn’t exist. But we can dream, right? Here are 15 gender roles we REALLY wish didn’t exist, thanks to this amazing Reddit thread.

Which of these do you agree with? Which do you disagree with? What other gender roles did we not include? Tell me in the comments!


8 girl stereotypes that are stupid and wrong

Follow Gurl, pretty please!
FacebookTwitterTumblr and Instagram


Posted in: Being Yourself
Tags: , , ,
  • Random Stranger

    I agree with this article about gender roles. There was just one little thing that bothered me. “Gender roles explain why … men feel like they can’t express emotion, something us girls frequently get frustrated about.” Romantic novels and movies are the ones that created the roles in the first place. Most of the guys in romantic novels and movies are pictured as perfect men which are able to sacrifice everything including their feelings to win the lead female’s affection. I don’t have absolutely 100% proof to back this up, but it seems like romance movies causes *some* girls to have unreal expectations of what men and love should be like. Men try to live up to these stadards which girls have made (but have gotten rid of by now) and the girls get annoyed. If guys don’t live up to those standards, the guy will think the girls won’t think the guy is good enough. These standards have stuck with men, even though the standards have changed.

  • Arminds’ copy of Swank

    Instead of stopping slut shaming why not just stop stud praising?

    Has the same result of men and women doing the same activity being considered equal rather than one bad and one good

  • Arminds’ copy of Swank

    Glad there was some entires in about things affecting guys. Sexism and equality aren’t only women’s issues and it’s rare to see it being shown as much.

  • Hakeem Elamin

    You forgot the stupid things girls say over seeing a guy wear a little pink

  • Shadeysun

    You forgot that woman have to be emotional. Im a woman, and i rarely show emotion.

  • Kendrick Parker

    You also forgot the stupid stereotype of.. if guys play video games, even casually, they are hopeless geeks with a wasted life that will die virgins, but when girls do it, they can somehow convince other people to play them.

  • Jesse

    You forgot the stupid convention which says guys can’t like girl stuff.

    • Hakeem Elamin

      I know right I like the color pink and I get called gay for having a pink phone, what happened to humanity

  • Pingback: Gender Stereotypes… | Shubhra Kr Vats()

  • Jade

    The Dads out of toutch thing, uh yah fairly true( with my dad anyway) 😛

    • Mari

      I agree; same with my dad, and same with a lot of dads I know. Obviously there are dads who are the opposite to the stereotype-ish thing but there are exceptions to everything.

  • someblokewhoclickedonalink?orwhatwasthat…

    Okay, having read through the list (not the reddit thread, though) for some reason, I can’t resist commenting on some of the items (listed) – and yes, admittedly, several of them weren’t accounted for by that lazy “arse-pull essay” I slapped together a few hours ago, and raise kind of legitimate points… but others were, and don’t 🙂

    1) That is a definitely a thing in our culture. A myth that probably has its origins in the general “women show up, men try to score, women select” dynamic of common hook-up practice (i.e. it’s statistically more prevalent, probably not without a biotruth component to it), and has been perpetuated by certain forms of tradtional conservatisim, as well as certain branches of feminism.
    Curiously, this stereotype (like so many) has a counterpart – namely the “seductive female – calm, willing male” trope, as frequently seen in (of all places) countless porn videos, as well as some action movies like Bourne Identity or The Transporter.
    Not sure how the two relate to each other, but I’m guessing the one in the article is the more prevailing one…

    So yea, the only problem I really have with this item is actually something you *didn’t* say, but probably just forgot to mention – namely that it’s somehow a bad thing if this stereotype is played out in comedic/escapist material like American Pie or something 🙂
    More on that later, though.

    2) While, as with everything else, there are certainly annoying (and even bigoted) versions of this, in general terms this item just falls into what I’d said earlier: that if the two genders, through whatever combination of nature and nurture, start gravitating towards certain activities or interests, well… then they’ll be kinda associated with those activities, and the ones that don’t conform to that will be seen as the “exceptional” ones.
    And honestly, while the shaming and disapproval you address is undoubtedly not-cool-at-all, comments like “wow, you like dude stuff!!”, on the other hand, are really just something one just has to deal with as a natural result of, well, not being like the majority, are they not?

    Yea, sure, it can get a bit annoying, but there are so many things you can be doing that the majority of people out there don’t do or even know much about, and hence are going to pester you with the same annoying questions / wide-eyed expressions of bewilderment, that it’s almost difficult to see it as anything other than something that just, well, comes with being unusual in one way or other.

    Unless of course you think these stereotypes DON’T accurately reflect reality, in which case it’s not really a “horrible gender role” as much as simple misinformation 😉

    3) “A young man has a high sex drive and has lots of premarital sex with multiple partners: “Good for you, bro!” A young woman has a high sex drive and has lots of premarital sex with multiple partners: Will be constantly called a “slut”, assumed to have an eating disorder or a history of mental health issues”
    An important question to consider here is how often those things are stated *by the same people*. As someone here’s already brought up, some people generally frown upon people “sleeping around” too much, while others have a very carefree attitude about those kinda things no matter which gender is involved, and how many of each in any given instance.

    There’s certainly a whole bunch of dudes out there who find promiscuous women to be an extremely arousing concept, or reserve a special kind of admiration for them that they’d find “gay” to extend to the so-called “studs”, as well as the “successful”, stuck-up kind of divas carrying a certain amount of contempt for guys who are a bit too easy to seduce, and a bit too easy to control (fictional example in “40 days and 40 nights”.

    Attitudes from their own ranks often tend to range between admiration and jealousy, probably (dare I say it) to the same extent respectively.

    So yea, who’s saying the studs are cool for sleeping around, and who’s saying the sluts are lame for doing the same?
    However, at the end of the day, that stereotype does exist, and isn’t balanced by any “counterpart” I’m familiar with – and it does suck.

    4) Considering this is about parents pushing their own prejudices on their children, I wholeheartedly agree.
    If it’s, like, other kids in the kindergarten or whatever, that’s already less clear-cut – I’d say they should be more tolerant and all, but to some extent, things just are what they are (see above/below).

    5) No arguments there.

    6) This has rather many points at once, and I can’t really make out any coherent line to bind them all, so I’ll have to go quote by quote there:

    “Being “a bitch” and/or “on my period” if I get angry, even if a man being angry about the same issue would be considered to have righteous anger.”
    In some cases, that’s true; in other cases, the female is given much more “leeway” in terms of how much ranting she can get away with while the guy has long gotten an “angry douchebag” sticker on his forehead for less – I don’t know which of them prevails and in what situations, but the issue is slightly more complex that presented here.

    “Being a slut if I dare to acknowledge my sexual side…or a prude if I don’t.”
    Again, is it always the same people who do that? Well the answer is no, as our glorious society is as full of prudes as it is of fratpeople, but yea – a lot of small-minded and bigoted people seem to have very clear ideas about how much is too much and how little is too little, and they wouldn’t be the boneheads they are if they didn’t keep trying to impose their silly rules on everybody else.

    I don’t think men get less shite for being “prudes” (maybe even more – something about the notion of an “unsuccessful virgin who decided to choose celebacy” seems slightly less enticing than the image of the wholesome girl-next-door waiting for her perfect one, doesn’t it), but they definitely do for “being sexual” – until, of course, they’ll get looked at as “creeps” or “predators” miles before their female counterparts are, but that’s a whole other song.

    “Having my worth as a human being be determined by how I measure up to an ideal of beauty rarely found outside of magazines.”
    Hm, I’ve frequently found that ideal of beauty outside of magazines (or, to be more accurate, find it hundredfold on the streets every day), but whatever 🙂

    “Having to worry about whether I’d come across as “desperate” for making the first move.”
    Couple possible questions there – how many times is she considered desperate vs. considered “totally hot”, how much does that depend on her looks / charisma (or the success rate of her potential targets), and isn’t there an extremely prevalent tendency to regard blokes who constantly hit on girls as “desparate” as well?
    Again, maybe the one you named IS the prevalent pattern, but it has to be measured against the first 🙂

    “Being a “gold-digger” if my boyfriend/husband makes more money than I do…or a “ball-buster” if I make more money than he does.”
    Is the “ball-buster” always meant negatively, though? I.e. not as in “alpha female” but rather as “nasty bitch trying to castrate the poor mens”?

    In all seriousness though:
    Women can get shyte for making less money, as well as more money.
    Men only for making less money (i.e. their balls busted by their awesome alpha femals they don’t deserve; they aren’t being real men etc.), but not so much for making more money (negligible complaints from feminist/liberal camps aside).
    So I’d agree there.

    7) “It is a word that purely means one is not conforming to the extremes of gender characterization and for this reason is doubly hateful.”
    Not really – this “double application” of the word “bitch” isn’t rooted in any sort of intention to “make people conform to their respective gender norms” (even though it can be used that way – again, question is whether it’s by the same people or different people etc.), as much as in the fact that IT HAS MULTIPLE MEANINGS TO BEGIN WITH.

    One of them is pretty much just the female equivalent of the male “douchebag”. It basically means the woman in question is an annoying asshole. It can be misused by being targeted against women who don’t do anything wrong except exceeding their “female norms”, which leads to your example above.
    Can be “ironically” used for men if their behavior patterns somehow seem stereotypically female; same with “douchebag” in reverse.

    The second, utterly contradistinct to the 1st, is a degrading term for a woman who is dominated / looked down upon by a male – which, in turn, serves as a sort of “ironic background” for using it to generally denote a person who’s being dominated / defeated by another person, regardless of genders. So if it’s said that bloke 1 just made bloke 2 “his bitch”, all that’s really saying is that he “owned” him in some form.
    Again, it has misogynistic origins and still can be used in that way, but a lot of the time… most of the time I’d say, it’s completely divorced from that context and is simply used to celebrate someone’s defeat.

    Then there’s also a third component to this (somewhat related to the 2nd), which has less to do with the word itself as the general “custom” among some males to give their less successful, or less “manly” peers, um, well… just as you rightly said there in the article, female designations implying that female (or effeminate; or gay) = weak.
    Those terms, however, include a wild variety of colorful, fancy words such as “pansy”, “sissy”, “girlie boy”, “fag”, “gay”, “pussy”, “wuss”, “wimp” and, of course, “bitch” to make up nine – some homophobic, some sexist, and others just generally condescending, they’re all ultimately part of the same happy family and can be used pretty much interchangeably.
    While definitely chauvinistic/heteronormative in origin, again, just as the 2nd one, this practice is quick to get divorced from that baggage and simply become a common way for men to jab and degrade each other while performing their monkey dance. Add another layer of irony on top of that, and the “men” in that sentence quickly becomes “people”. Women will start jabbing other women, and *men*, by calling them pussies or lassies or whatever in the sense of them being “weak” or having lost a social dominance game of some sort – first with an ironic wink-wink, and in no time that is gone, too.

    So again – while what you describe in item 7) definitely happens (sometimes even done by the same people!), at other times the sexist undertones in that kind of language are meant about as literally as “thank God” is by atheists – and even in the worst cases, it definitely isn’t the kind of devious, linguistic sleight-of-hand trick of using the same word to conform both genders to their norms, because THAT WORD ALREADY HAS AT LEAST TWO MEANINGS ENTIRELY AT ODDS WITH EACH OTHER, with both applied to either gender in different contexts, OR IS INTERCHANGEABLE WITH GENDER NEUTRAL ONES.

    Not even when these three meanings happen to stumble upon each other, fuck and then produce the abominable Lovecraftian bastard child known as “the petty, whiny, annoying manchild who everyone thinks sucks” – combining the worst traits of its three forebears, it’s the kind of guy who is an annoying, loud asshole, voices said character trait in a high-pitched, whiny tone happily considered by the fratboy community as “effeminate”, AND is considered to be the bottom of any social rank in existence (including the dramatis personae of Star Wars) as a result!
    While such an occurrence makes the use of any other word on that list impossible, and even somehow manages to do the impossible and marry two complete opposites in one gender… it still has nothing to do with that supposed “doubly hateful” conspiracy brought up in the article 😉
    Ironically, that’s also one of those behaviors that women generally can get away with more without losing respect (and no, that’s not because they have less respect to begin with), but that’s another topic for another day… or item?!

    8) See my original comment again: while the grumpy, suspicious townsfolk coming out of the woodworks, a household tool in one hand and a handkerchief in the other, and murmuring “that ain’t right” to each other over the smallest bagatelle (shaking their heads in disapproval, of course) is, at all times, a source of much unwelcome annoyance that is largely treatable with average education – the general “common” preference for couples in which the female is shorter than or of equal height to the male / partners fitting that image (not accounting for the “fantasy” element tied to a shorter, youthful but virile sapling being dominated/nurtured by a tall, lascivous heap of woman, for the sake of simplicity) really isn’t… and when such a preference / expectation exists, a couple of “hey lol that’s kinda funny!”s or even “lol i bet she’s busting him real good eh!”s here and there seem almost unavoidable, don’t they?
    Again I have to ask – what’s really the big deal? Some couples are gonna get together, and be put on a pedestal, others (for a wide diversity of possible reasons) are gonna get sort of “lol really? these two? ohhhhckkkeey!!” looks, I mean that’s just life, isn’t it?

    9) Definitely the single most stupid entry in the whole list. Sitcom dads? Really? You realize that sort of thing is… *comedy*… right? You realize they do that to create… humor…. and make audiences laugh… right?
    Sorry to break it to you literalist anti-FPS-crusaders (hey, might as well be, right), but:
    showing a bumbling dad in a comedy context =/= stating or implying that Dads are Bumbling Idiots.

    10) Aside from what I’ve already said:
    “I hate when men get made fun of for crying or showing that they’re upset.”
    As far as I’m concerned, that depends on how much they themselves share that mindset – some actually internalize that sort of attitude, and consider those reactions to be reflective of their own, and thus as welcome pushs and jabs from their peers and mentors into “the right direction”.
    If they aren’t, then that kinda sucks – but again, can’t rip down the tree without ripping out the roots; and the roots go deep…

    Another issue here is that while men are belittled for crying / showing emotions (not to the extent you might think, based on my experience, but whatever) – so are women because than then shows them to be the “weak, feeble women they are”.
    It’s still based off the notion of what they call hegemonic masculinity, but in another way, it’s also just people being people and picking on those in their midst who show weakness.

    11)-12) Yes.

    13) Well it all depends on whether that sort of language is imposed on the woman, or she somehow finds it appealing herself – playing the “role” of the “virgin” who “gives up her virginity” or whatever. I don’t know the statistics of that or anything, but I also know people are into things… and how obnoxious it must be for those who happen not to be.

    To answer your (hopefully rhetorical) question of “why” they say that… well, aside from the obvious one, there may also be an evopsych factor to it all – following the model that successful reproduction calls for males to go around and try to score as many women as possible, and the females to select their partners wisely because that determines the… well, and so on; the point is, that sort of business might’ve left some footprints in our monkey brains somewhere.
    Still, that stuff is never that clear-cut, and those footprints are actually quite murky and rearrangeable – cause boys are sometimes known to talk about how they “gave their virginity” to some hot, more experienced girlfriend of theirs way back. It’s romantic… I think. :O

    14) Um wasn’t that from Leave it to Beaver or something? That stuff’s still around?? Weeeeird, didn’t even know that… omg.

    Well anyways, I guess I’ve emptied my brain for at least a couple of days to come, sooooo, that’d be the wrap-up I suppose!

  • randomreaderwhoclickedonrelatedlinks

    “CoPimp Reezy, I must applaud you for going against gender norms and reading an article on gurl.com! but judging by your use of a word formerly used to describe a gardening tool, and your obvious violent tendencies, i’d say that the only woman you’d ever manage to get to make you a sandwich is your poor, ashamed mother. who would turn pink if she saw you trolling people on the internet and wasting your time writing rude comments on an otherwise nonjudgemental article. i’ve known actual pimps with more respect for women than you’ve shown here, so you can “shut up” and make yourself a sandwich. although you don’t really deserve one.”

    Contrary to a certain consensus that may or may not be prevalent on this website, extracting all of this information and baggage from that short comment is… well, impossible.
    For the simple reason that it was as (if not more) likely meant as a joke as it was meant literally 😉

    How do you know “his” mother isn’t someone who’ve not necessarily always above making crude / politically incorrect wisecracks herself? I mean you don’t even know their mother 😀

    I’m not really defending that stupid one-liner by the way 😀

  • randomreaderwhoclickedonrelatedlinks

    Haven’t read this article specifically, but generally speaking, gender roles are a frequent and significant component of gender IDENTITY, which makes fitting in and living up to them highly pleasurable and fulfilling to many people.
    You’ve got the dirtier flipside to this coin well covered there, but your claim that there is “nothing good about them” is ultimately not true – the good thing about them is that it makes the people who “play” them FEEL GOOD AND COMFORTABLE.
    In a specific way that just “being free to do whatever”, as a default state, can’t really provide.

    “Gender roles explain why so many men feel like they can’t express emotion, something us girls frequently get frustrated about.”
    Well, being emotionally reclusive can be satisfying to people in general – and in this specific case, playing and internalizing the role of the sort of “stoic male” that they feel is “manly” and “what real men should be” makes those men, well, “feel like real men”. They don’t necessarily just do it because otherwise they’ll get made fun of, but also because of the direct psychological reward that comes with it – to put it simpler, you focus on the stick but ignore the existence of the giant carrot 😉

    And that’s probably the “ideal” solution to this whole issue: not so much “getting rid” of all these gender roles and stereotypes which can make life more fun and colorful, but reducing the aforementioned “stick” to such a degree that it essentially ends up being little more than a tolerable nuisance… while keeping the carrots.
    At least as much as possible, because in the cases where there’s a conflict between the two, and shrinking the stick inevitably leads to nerfing the carrot, well, some might simply refuse to play along with that – In other words, people who’d like to go against those gender roles or just don’t care about them in the first place, shouldn’t be bullied or blackmailed against doing so, nor should they experience hostilities or ostracisim as a result of that. But ultimately, if the majority of people decide to hold on to these stereotypes for the “carrot reasons”, a little bit of alienation or disapproving looks from the one or the other for defying those might just be the natural consequence of that.

    “In a perfect world, there would be zero gender roles.”
    Some might beg to differ 😉

    “Gender roles are the reason that stupid, lame joke exists about how women exist just to make men sandwiches (seriously? Why is this still a joke?).”
    Cos its funny? If it’s said as a joke, and MEANT as a joke (i.e. inversion of reality rather than reenforcement of it), I don’t even get why that bothers you…

    That’s just like complaining about “racism, xenophobia and cultural small-mindedness” and then bringing up good-natured jokes about, oh I dunno, French jerks in berets or something.
    Well, this is really where that “conflict” I’ve mentioned above comes up in its strongest form – do you really think that if the price for “ridding our culture of hurtful stereotypes” is to stop making jokes of this kind, people are going to join the cause? Let’s be real – they’re gonna hold on to all this stuff at LEAST to such a degree that it allows them to keep exploiting “it” for jokes, irony and escapist fiction.

  • Nick

    Psychologically and physicalliologically men are hardwired to be tough and a pillar therefore it is harder for men to ask for help such as asking for directions or showing emotion, especially to women. This is scientific fact, just like in general women talk more than men, scientifically proven, holywood has just blown this way out of proportion like so many other things. Something that frustrates me is that today’s world is so hell bent on mixing the gender roles that it forgets that genetically the genders are built different. Men create more testosterone which promotesmustle growth as well as the other physical features that we associate with masculinity. Sorry women, men are generally better at heavy lifting. by the same token, generally women tend to be more caring making them better suited to jobs such as teaching and mothering. Sorry but reality check on what we have all known since we were 8 years old, boys are different than girls. obviously there are outliers, some women are hulking tyrants who abuse children and some men are weak, caring, and have no problem asking for help but stats and science don’t lie, we are different.

    • K. Willsen

      Stats *do* lie, especially when used out of context like that. (“Lies, damn lies and statistics”) The fact that certain groups TEND to behave in certain ways is not the same things as proving all members of this group must behave like this all the time. The problem with gender roles, as this article points out, is not that they are proscriptive where they should be merely descriptive.

      To use a less emotionally loaded comparison: Tall people tend to move faster than short people. Physical fact: longer legs, larger stride, faster pace. But if a shorter athlete beats a taller one, people don’t get angry, telling the shorter athlete “you must have cheated”, or the taller one “you must be a weakling”. Patterns are predictable, individual incidents less so. If this were not the case, all sporting competitions could be decided simply by taking the dimensions of the athletes and plugging them into a formula.

      Statistics are useful tools to gauge general patterns of behaviour, but that is all they are. When you start using them as a way to set limits on what is and is not “normal”, everyone is in trouble.

      • K. Willsen

        TYPO: “…is that they are proscriptive”, not “…is that they are -NOT- proscriptive”

        MODS: Please edit my first comment, and delete this one. Thanks.
        P.S. The page is really slow for me, taking several seconds to show each keystroke I type. Not sure why, as the page is completely loaded, and I’m not running any other programs. I have to type “blind”, then wait for my words to appear.

  • CoPimp Reezy

    Hoe, shut up and make me a sandwich before I slap you.

    • rinnyrinnyroo

      CoPimp Reezy, I must applaud you for going against gender norms and reading an article on gurl.com! but judging by your use of a word formerly used to describe a gardening tool, and your obvious violent tendencies, i’d say that the only woman you’d ever manage to get to make you a sandwich is your poor, ashamed mother. who would turn pink if she saw you trolling people on the internet and wasting your time writing rude comments on an otherwise nonjudgemental article. i’ve known actual pimps with more respect for women than you’ve shown here, so you can “shut up” and make yourself a sandwich. although you don’t really deserve one.

  • Gracie

    The cooking thing is funny; my dad loves to cook in the kitchen (though he actually isn’t as good as my stepmom) but REFUSES to learn to grille- it makes gift-giving difficult with all the grilling stuff for dads-and my stepmom does all of the grilling.

  • No

    Is it still slut shaming if you “shame” the male who does the same thing??? I have mostly encountered people who call those girls sluts and those guys either sluts as well or man-whores.